The monuments over Mahomedan tombs have usually been of earth, or of unbaked brick ; but every material, and of the most enduring kind, is employed, and the names are sometimes engraved on the tombstones. The tombstone of a man is distinguished by a raised part in the centre, and that of a woman by a depression. In Turkey, a pillar with the carved figure of a turban dis tinguishes the grave of a man. The prevalent form in India of Mahomedan tombstones of the rich is a dark or black tombstone, with verses of the Koran engraved on it, and covered by a cupola. Some of these domes are very magnificent. Those of the Adal Shahi dynasty at Bijapur and Gogi have attracted much attention, as also have those of the Bahmani dynasty at Kulburga and Kutub Shahi dynasty at Golconda. The cupolas at Roza where Aurangzeb is buried have not any display, and that of Aurangzeb is the least ostentatious. His daughter's tomb at Aurangabad is large, and many of the tombs at Deldi and Agra are great structures. That of Mumtaz Begun', known as the Taj Mahal, is particularly remarkable. Re formers amongst the Mahomedans consider that unbaked brick or earth should alone be used.
The Christian doctrine that man, in all that lie can do of good, is still without merit, is not shared in by any of the Mahomedan, Buddhist, or Hindu sects, who all consider that a personal merit is gained by their good doing ; and a Maho medan passing a funeral of a Mahomedan, turns with it a short way, and lends his shoulder to convey the body to the grave, to bring a merit on himself.
The Parsee or Zoroastrian race are to be found scattered from Hong-Kong in the east to Great Britain in the west, a small but intellectual remnant of the once great Median nation. A considerable body of them dwell in Bombay, in Gujerat, and the western towns of India. Their sick are never allowed to expire on a bed. When the moment of passing away is near, the sick person is removed to the ground, and bathed and washed. The reasons alleged for this removal are various ; but the one ordinarily accepted amongst them is that a dead body is an unclean thing, necessitating that all who touch it shall destroy their clothes, and whatever is touched by it must be destroyed. For these reasons, the dead, in Bombay, are carried by a class of Parsees called Nessus salar,'—Nessus meaning unclean (Najis, Pmts.). These men, clothed in white, carry the remains to the Dokhma, or tower of silence, and lay the body on its raised upper floor. Tho Dokhma is without any roof covering ; is open to the sky, so that birds of prey, vultures, kites, have the freest approach. The raised floor has a deep well, surrounded by a raised platform, with channels converging to a well. The corpse is laid
on a partition of the platform, and the decompos ing matters flow along the channels auto the well. When the well is full, the bones aro removed and buried outside the Dokhma. The fire-priests are paid to pray for the dead, monthly, for a year, and thereafter on every anniversary of the demise. After the demise, and before the removal of the body, a dog is brought near to gaze on the departed. This is the Sag-did' or dog-gaze, and, by one account, is said to be had recourse to with the object of ascertaining, from the dog'a movements, the state of the soul of the departed ; by another account, it is practised from the belief that the dog is a naturally chaste animal, and the view of the chaste dog falling on the dead will expedite the translation of the soul to heaven across the Chigvan bridge. See Bridge.
The non-Aryan and non-Hindu races of British India are estimated at about 20 million souls, but, except the great Gond nation, and the Kol, the Bhil, and the southern Shanars, most of them are in small tribes, and many are occupying forests and mountain fastnesses, or are dwelling on the out skirts of towns. They in general bury their dead.
The Sowrah of the hill ranges of the Circars, mostly those hills near Chicacole, near Kalahanda, and southwards as far as Bradachellum, bury their dead with their weapons.
The Chenchwar race, farther south, in the forests of the Nalla-Mallai, bury their dead and sometimes burn, and, like the Tartar races, they carry the deceased's weapons to the grave.
The Kuki race of Assam, up to the middle of the 19th century, continued to make inroads on the plains, not for plunder, but to secure heads, and they have been known to carry off fifty heads in a night. On the death of a chief, the body is smoke-dried, and kept for two months with the family. If a raja fall in battle, they immediately proceed on a head-hunting expedition, and bring in the heads of those they kill, hold feastings and dancings, and, after cutting the heads into pieces, send a portion to each village. This is considered in the light of a sacrifice to the manes of the deceased.
The Khassya hill race, 4000 to 6000 feet above the level of the sea, inter their dead on the un dulatory eminences of the country. These are dotted with groups of huge unpolished squared pillars and tabular slabs, supported on three or four rude piers. Menhir are there ; one of them seen was 30 feet out of the ground, 6 feet broad, and 2i feet thick, and in front of each is a dolmen or cromlech of proportionately gigantic pieces of rock.